Russian President Vladimir Putin has reportedly ordered the government to outline detailed proposals for the state-run energy giant Rosneft to supply up to 10 billion cubic meters of pipelined natural gas exports to Europe.
The proposals are set to be worked out in close cooperation with Rosneft management and rival energy major Gazprom by March 1, Interfax news agency reported on Tuesday.
Gazprom currently holds a monopoly on European gas supplies.
The project was initially proposed by Rosneft chief executive Igor Sechin with the purpose of lowering gas prices across Europe, and generating additional budgetary income.
European countries have been grappling with severe shortages and skyrocketing costs of natural gas for months, with prices spiking to nearly $2,000 per 1,000 cubic meters of gas in early October.
On Tuesday, the price of December futures on the TTF hub in the Netherlands saw another surge of 7.5% to $1,130 per 1,000 cubic meters, or to €95 per megawatt hour (MWh) in household terms.
Rising energy prices have been attributed to a variety of factors, including depleted EU reserves, post-pandemic consumption growth and strong demand in Asia for available supplies of liquefied natural gas.
Some European politicians have accused Russia of withholding deliveries of natural gas amid the latest delays in EU’s certification of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. Russia says it is meeting all its contractual obligations with its European customers. Germany has confirmed that fact.
Gazprom delivers natural gas to Europe using a number of routes. They include supplies through the pipeline networks of Ukraine and Belarus, as well as the operational Nord Stream pipeline via the Baltic Sea.
READ MORE: ‘Vladimir Putin’s pipeline weapon’: What’s really going on with Nord Stream 2?
With the pipelines running through Ukraine and Belarus reportedly underused, Rosneft hopes to supply additional volumes of gas to Europe if it secures export rights.
Moreover, an agreement between Rosneft and Gazprom is expected to speed up the launch of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, as it would allow the project to comply with EU requirements. The gas directive, approved by Brussels in February 2019, forbids the same company from delivering and selling gas within the bloc. The move would also help Russia boost its share of global gas exports.
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